‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord succumbed to Rotterdam rivals Excelsior in the Eredivisie Friday night at Woudestein stadium. Bert van Marwijk’s side conceded two goals within 12 minutes – Michel van Guldener and Geert den Ouden were the scorers – and were unable to turn things around again. Danny Buijs did get one back late on, but a lack of sharpness in front of goal ultimately did for Feyenoord.
Bert van Marwijk opted to field the same eleven as had piloted Feyenoord through a tricky cup tie Tuesday. It meant that Nuri Sahin and André Bahia both found themselves on the bench, despite being virtual shoo-ins for a starting place most of the season. The move was Van Marwijk’s attempt to add more power to his team.
There was little of that in the opening stages however. Indeed, within a dozen or so minutes Feyenoord found themselves staring down the barrel, two goals down. Both goals were created by midfielder Kees Luijckx on the left side. His first cross was met by Michel van Guldener, who shot past Timmer to give his side a shock lead. The second came three minutes later, landing at the feet of Geert den Ouden, who poked the ball onto the post and in.
Feyenoord suddenly had a huge task on their hands, and although Bert van Marwijk’s side were able to dominate possession and generate chances, finishing proved to be a real problem.
The biggest opportunity fell to Chun-Soo Lee after a half hour. The South Korean was played in by Roy Makaay in the box and appeared destined to make his first goal for the club, but he ended up miskicking.
Strike partner Roy Makaay had two efforts from distance. His first slid the wrong side of the post, but the second was bang on target, although Sieme Zijm was on hand to clear off the line. Jonathan de Guzman also went close to netting, this time from a free kick from around 20 metres out. Keeper Ronald Graafland did very well to stop the Canadian’s shot from cruising into the top corner.
It meant that Feyenoord went in two down at the break, which spurred Van Marwijk to introduce Michael Mols to add more bite to attack. Initially it didn’t seem to be producing the desired effect. The game reverted to the same pattern as seen in the first half. Feyenoord beavered away around the home penalty area without really threatening. Consequently the second half had been underway for ten minutes or so before the first chance came in the shape of a De Guzman free kick, which was off target.
Excelsior preferred to play on the counter and they did it quite well. Feyenoord just weren’t able to truly threaten the home goal, but Geert den Ouden had a great opportunity to nod his side further ahead halfway through the second half. The long striker had all the time in the world to redirect a great cross from the left past Henk Timmer, yet headed wide. A few minutes later Michel van Guldener found himself with just the keeper to beat, but Timmer parried the attacker’s attempt.
The game was an hour old when Roy Makaay got the chance to pull one back for the visitors. The ball was played in from deep by Michael Mols, but Makaay’s shot was not as good as it could have been and was saved by keeper Van Nieuwenhuizen, who was on for the injured Graafland at the break.
Makaay had another chance with just over ten minutes left, this time from a free kick on the edge of the box. The effort was harder and it was on target, but Van Nieuwenhuizen tipped the ball onto the bar.
It was the overture for a Feyenoord blitz that produced a goal within a minute. Danny Buijs put the visitors within one strike with a blistering drive. Unfortunately, in the end it was all they could muster.
Excelsior – Feyenoord 2-1
5’ 1-0 Van Guldener
12’ 2-0 Den Ouden
80’ 2-1 Buijs
Bookings: Braber, Hofland
Excelsior: Graafland (16’ Van Nieuwenhuis); Bandjar, Van Nieuwstadt, Van Steensel, Piqué; Demir (30’ Guijo-Velasco), Braber, Zijm, Luijckx; Den Ouden, Van Guldener (81’ Steur)
Feyenoord: Timmer; Buijs, Greene, Hofland, De Cler; Lucius, De Guzman, Van Bronckhorst; Lee (46’ Mols), Makaay, Bruins (65’ Wijnaldum)